In our last post, we listed five places in Malaysia where you can fool your friends and followers into thinking you’ve gone on a holiday abroad: the pastures of Kundasang, Sabah where cows graze on green slopes similar to those found in New Zealand, or inside the Moroccan Pavilion at Astaka Putrajaya, with its elaborately carved arches and doors.
We hope you’ve put those down on your bucket list, because here are five more stunning spots in Malaysia that look like foreign destinations - or another world altogether.
Sasaran Beach, Selangor
Few places in Selangor make for such striking photos as Sasaran Beach, also known as ‘Sky Mirror’ or Malaysia’s very own Salar de Uyuni. Like the salt flat lake in Bolivia, Sasaran’s shallow waters reflect the sky to create a mirror-like surface that is perfect for photography enthusiasts. However, this unique phenomenon only happens twice a month, during the new moon and full moon, when the low tide causes the sand bar to emerge. At other times, this ‘secret island’ is submerged in the sea. Most visitors pair a trip to Sky Mirror with other attractions, such as the historic Bukit Melawati and Taman Alam nature park, or enjoy delicious seafood at the abundance of restaurants around the area.
Enchanting is the word that comes to mind as you trek through Mossy Forest in Gunung Brinchang. This ancient 200,000-year-old tropical rainforest gives off Fangorn Forest vibes - the only thing missing would be Ents walking out of the mist. The trees here are closely knit, forming a dense canopy with twisting branches, so little sunlight hits the forest floor. This provides a conducive environment for moss and lichen, which hug the trees in large clusters.The effect is both gloomy and haunting, yet beautiful. Treks are considered moderate or hard, and should only be attempted with a guide, owing to the treacherous terrain and uneven trail.
Despite the allure of adventure, a trip to the Amazonian jungle to experience riding down the river is something many of us may not be able to afford. Closer to home, there’s Lata Berkoh, a spectacular cascade located within Taman Negara in Pahang. Known as one of the national park’s crown jewels, the spot is rife with rare butterflies, insects and birds such as kingfishers and straw-headed bulbuls. What makes the journey truly memorable, however, is the boat ride to Lata Berkoh itself. Trees on both sides of the Sungai Tahan river converge to form natural archways, and branches are covered with ferns and orchids. Visitors will then have to trek 500 metres along a well laid out forest trail that leads to the cascade’s river bank.
A land reclamation project in Klebang, Melaka, has become an impromptu tourist attraction, thanks to towering man-made sand dunes littering the landscape ala the Sahara desert. Some of the dunes are several stories high, and seeing as there are not many tourists, it’s easy to feel like you are lost in the middle of nowhere. Be prepared to do some hunting as there are no proper signboards leading to the place. Many visitors park on the tarred road and venture an hour on foot to reach the secluded spot, which is located between Pantai Klebang and the Submarine Museum.
Turquoise waters and white sand are a signature of many islands in the Caribbean. Channeling similar vibes is Pulau Rawa in the southern state of Johor. Often overlooked for more popular islands such as Redang, Tioman and Perhentian, Rawa remains relatively untouched and maintains a pristine beauty. Expect crystal-clear blue-green waters, sandy white beaches, gently swaying coconut palms and a plethora of marine wildlife in the area surrounding the tiny island. Take part in water activities such as snorkeling, diving and kayaking, or go for a hike up the island’s hill to catch the sunrise.